CONCERTINA player Tim Collins is one of West Limerick’s most successful exports, bringing his deep love of traditional music and his virtuosity on the concertina from his home ground to the rich and fertile musical ground of Co Clare and further afield.
For the past decade or more he has been synonymous with the Kilfenora Céilí Band as well as teaching and playing in his adopted county of Clare.
Now, with trad music broadcaster Aine Hensey, he has organised Consairtín, the National Convention for Concertina which takes place in Ennis this weekend and which he hopes will become an annual event.
In addition, the weekend will see a new departure in Irish music with the launch of ICE, the Irish Concertina Ensemble, a bringing together of five master concertina players featuring Tim Collins along with Pádraig Rynee, Mícheál O’Raghallaigh, Caitlín Nic Gabhann and Edel Fox. They will make their debut at a Concertina by Candlelight concert on Saturday night where Tim’s composition, the Brian Boru Concerto will also be played.
Consairtín, Tim hopes, will prove to be a worthy successor to Eigse Mrs Crotty, the weeklong concertina festival which took its name from Clare’s most famous concertina player and which took place in Kilrush. However, the festival died out about a decade ago and Tim now feels the time is right again for a dedicated concertina festival.
And he is delighted with the response the weekend has generated so far. There have been strong bookings for hotels in the town and participants have registered from the US, Britain and Europe.
The weekend, Tim explains, will be a mix of playing, concerts and lectures. There will also be master classes with renowned concertina players as well as workshops such as concertina maintenance.
A key feature of the weekend will be the promotion of young players with two sessions of Siamsa na nOg and there will be plenty of sessions at club venues around the town of Ennis. Headline acts include Noel Hill and Jack Talty in concert on Friday night, the ICE concert on Saturday and Mary Bergin with Mary McNamara ending the weekend on Sunday. For a full programme go to www. consairtín.ie.